Hernandez and Skilken Pair Up For Synchro Bronze at Pan Am Games
Pan American GamesSantiago 2023Medal Tracker
SANTIAGO, Chile – Jordan Skilken’s synchronized diving experience was practically non-existent prior to before Wednesday night.
But that didn’t matter.
She and Hailey Hernandez are coming home from the Pan American Games with a bronze medal in synchronized 3-meter.
Skilken and Hernandez paired together for 279.06 points, finishing third behind the Mexican team of Paola Pineda and Arantxa Chavez (285.48) and the Canadian duo of Mia Vallee and Pamela Ware (280.65).
“I was really nervous. Hailey is definitely better in this event, but she did such a great job of keeping me calm and confident and keeping the fun in it,” Skilken said. “I did synchro once at a club meet years ago, but other than that, I’ve never done synchro. It was a lot of fun, and I’m really happy that we did this.”
With their individual Pan Am events behind them, Hernandez and Skilken, teammates at the University of Texas, entered the synchro event as a fun way to close out their Pan American Games experience together.
“It was super exciting going out there and having a little bit of a different mindset than I usually do,” said Hernandez. “We had a lot of fun. We wanted to go out there together and enjoy our last moment here. We were really happy to see ourselves get up on the medal stand.”
The contest was a close one heading into the final round, with the U.S. in second and just 9.33 points separating first from fourth.
Hernandez and Skilken closed out their list with 62.10 points on a front 2 ½ with one twist, enough to finish with the bronze, while Canada jumped from fourth to second to secure the silver.
Skilken placed sixth in the individual 10-meter event on Saturday, while Hernandez won bronze on 1-meter on Sunday and was fourth individually on 3-meter on Tuesday. Skilken used that time after her competition to start working on springboard, but because Hernandez still had her two individual events, the duo didn’t do any synchro together until right before the competition.
“Going into this meet, we were just focusing on our individual events because we knew what we had to do. Since I was already done, I started training for synchro a couple days earlier, doing her approach and back press,” Skilken said. “We’re just having fun and we’re already such good friends, so talking about it, about an hour before the meet we’re like, ‘Let’s go do our thing.’”
In other action on Wednesday, Jordan Rzepka finished ninth in the men’s 10-meter final with 391.05 points, including 75.60 points on his armstand double back with 2 ½ twists.
Mexico’s Randal Willars took the gold at 479.40, just edging Canadian Nathan Zsombor-Murray, who finished with 476.15 for silver. Mexico’s Kenny Zamudio scored 451.60 for bronze.
Max Flory also competed in the men’s 10-meter preliminaries and finished 13th with 324.95 points, missing a spot in the final by 1.2 points.
The U.S. finished the Pan American Games with five medals, all bronze.